It feels like California is usually the first to rush headlong into whatever latest boondoggle it is that the progressives in the federal government have seized upon as their latest cause célèbre — ObamaCare and solar energy spring to mind — but in a rather rare yet painfully transparent instance, the Democrats in the California government are holding back on an issue on which the Obama administration recommends they move forward.

When it comes the administration’s oh-so-audacious recommendation that states require their public school teachers to go through some form — however meek — of actual performance reviews (gasp!), the White House is for once leading where California dare not follow. And who is it, do you suppose, that is so directly discouraging California politicians from following suit? Via the LA Times:

California has defiantly refused to follow the administration’s lead in grading the performance of teachers and using those measurements to reward the best teachers and punish the worst. The state is one of very few that have told Washington that under no conditions will it put in place the type of teacher evaluation system Obama has championed.

As a result, the administration has not given California a waiver from the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law, leaving thousands of local schools exposed to expensive federal sanctions. …

The obstinacy has frustrated the Education Department, where Secretary Arne Duncan and his top aides have been trying to create a uniform system that can be used to reward the best teachers and move the worst out of the profession. Now they see that drive stalling in the nation’s most populous state. …

The standoff reflects the enduring influence of the California Teachers Assn., which long ago established the state as a bulwark against the national movement to base teacher evaluations more heavily on standardized tests. The CTA, the most generous campaign donor to state officials, maintains a tight grip on Sacramento politics.

The union’s position has been embraced by Gov. Jerry Brown and State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, two old-guard Democrats who are loath to antagonize labor.

California, everybody: Taking the “progress” out of “progressive,” one special-interest serving cave-in at a time.